I am
Health services urged to resume face-to-face rehab for heart patients
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Health services urged to resume face-to-face rehab for heart patients

Media Release - 03 February 2021

The Heart Foundation is urging health services to prioritise the return of face-to-face cardiac rehabilitation programs to ensure heart attack sufferers complete all sessions of the life-saving program.

A new Heart Foundation survey found that 73 percent of heart attack survivors who attended a cardiac rehabilitation program in-person in the past six months completed the whole program, compared to just 14 percent who completed the sessions via telehealth.

The findings are being released to encourage hospitals to prioritise the return of face-to-face cardiac rehabilitation services that have been suspended or replaced with telehealth models due to COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, face-to-face models were generally the customary way of conducting these programs. 

General Manager of Heart Health, Bill Stavreski, said it was reassuring to see cardiac rehabilitation services resuming across Australia but stressed the importance of the face-to-face model.

“Many Australians have benefited from the expansion of telehealth funding and new models of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that these continue given the possibility of future lockdowns, like the one we are currently seeing in WA.

However, as restrictions have eased, face-to-face cardiac rehabilitation programs can be resumed, and telehealth should become just one of several options that can be tailored for the specific patient.

“For example, some patients require additional supervision and support during their exercise sessions and they find that participating in person in a group environment is more preferable than via telehealth.

“And we know some heart patients really value the peer-support aspect of face-to--face cardiac rehabilitation, and clinicians are able to get a feel for how a patient is feeling, looking after themselves and recovering.

“Cardiac rehabilitation looks different for everyone. For some, telehealth programs will be desirable but we often hear from patients that getting out of the house to exercise and learn about heart health with people in a similar predicament is life changing.

“We want to see alternate models of care that are flexible and patient-centric,” Mr Stavreski said. 

The survey also found that six in 10 people who had suffered a heart attack in the past five years were referred to a cardiac rehab program.

“It is important that all patients who have had a heart attack, heart surgery, or other heart or blood vessel disease are routinely referred to an appropriate cardiac rehabilitation program by a health professional.

“Cardiac rehabilitation is the best way to prevent another heart attack, stay out of hospital and get back to a good quality of life,” Mr Stavreski said. 

Research Directory

Research Directory

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

Q&A with Professor Kerry-Anne Rye

A new way to keep people who have had a heart attack healthy...

Vegetarian lasagne

Vegetarian lasagne

Vegetarian lasagne

1 hour
Serves 6

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

Paprika chicken with pumpkin and spinach salad

32 minutes
Serves 4

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Search our lunch recipe ideas...

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

Emotional wellbeing is like having a garden, sometimes it grows green on its own, other times it needs watering, cutting back or fertilising....

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

15 minutes
Serves 2

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Ian “did not hesitate” to leave 100% of his estate to the Heart Foundation....

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

For professionals: Guidelines for acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

For professionals: Guidelines for acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

Australian  guidelines  for  prevention, diagnosis and  management of  acute  rheumatic  fever and  rheumatic  heart  disease ...

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

Pumpkin falafel wraps

10 minutes
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

35 minutes
Serves 4

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Become a corporate partner

Partner with us to help us fight for Australian hearts....

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Explore some useful things to know about intimacy after a heart attack....

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Projects aimed at improving the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ...

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Green power smoothie

Green power smoothie

Green power smoothie

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

Fruit and nut muesli

Fruit and nut muesli

Fruit and nut muesli